White drop goal shocks Wigan
Widnes 37 Wigan 36
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
The Stobart Stadium
Monday 12 March 2012
A late drop goal from Lloyd White clinched the unlikeliest result of this or any other Super League season.
When a side bidding to go top of the table is 18 points ahead of one that has not won since last June, it is surely game over. Not so at Widnes in this incredible game. White began the fightback by going over from dummy-half. Shaun Briscoe then scored his second of the match, from a pass by Gareth O'Brien.
Then with 15 minutes to play and the Stobart Stadium going wild, Frank Winterstein drove over the line and O'Brien collected his sixth goal from six attempts to tie the scores.
White, who learned his trade at Crusaders before becoming one of Widnes's mass of signings for their first season back in Super League, won the game with a cool one-pointer, but he almost lost it again by conceding the penalty for ball-stealing that gave Josh Charnley his chance to add to his six conversions. His shot drifted wide and all Wigan's desperate late effort came to nothing, leaving their coach with the obvious questions to answer.
Shaun Wane rested five regulars, including Sam Tomkins. There was family representation, however, with younger brother Logan on the bench as one of three debutants. Wane denied any regrets over his selection. "The team we put on the field was well capable of winning that match," he said. "I needed to find out about those players and I learned a lot."
Widnes, who also had three new faces and a total of six ex-Wigan players, took note of the visitors' selection policy and used it as a motivating factor.
"We did speak about it, but if I'd got the same quality of player as Wigan I'd probably do the exact same thing," said jubilant Widnes coach Denis Betts. "I've been saying we were getting better, but no one believed me."
Wane seemed to have got his calculations right when his mix-and-match side went straight into a 12-point lead with tries from Gareth Hock and Harrison Hansen. Paddy Flynn began Widnes's first comeback, but Matty Russell celebrated his first Wigan appearance by reopening the gap.
The Vikings were level by half-time through tries from Stefan Marsh and Shaun Briscoe, but Wigan struck three times early in the second half – scoring through Brett Finch, Joe Mellor and Russell – but the home side just refused to be beaten.
Widnes: Briscoe; Flynn, Marsh, Phelps, Isa; O'Brien, Craven; Pickersgill, Clarke, Davies, Winterstein, Allen, Cahill. Subs used: White, Kite, Finnigan, Mullally.
Wigan: Russell; Gelling, Goulding Charnley, Hughes, Charnley; Finch, Mellor; Lima, McIlorum, Mossop, Hansen, Hock, Tuson. Subs used: L Tomkins, Flower, Lauaki, Spencer.
Referee: R Hicks (Oldham).
* Huddersfield took advantage of Wigan's stumble to go top of Super League with a 32-14 win at Wakefield. Joe Wardle marked his selection in the England Lions squad this week with two tries that swung it the Giants' way.
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity
Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94
Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)
Latest in Sport
Phil Hughes injury: Cricket world reels as Australian opener 'fights for his life'
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund player ratings: Who was the star man at the Emirates? Alexis Sanchez? Santi Cazorla? Or Yaya Sanogo?
Phil Hughes: A swashbuckling, raw and talented batsman who had the world at his feet
Phil Hughes dead: List of players who have tragically died on the cricket pitch
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund report: Yaya Sanogo and Alexis Sanchez are on target as Gunners secure impressive victory
- 1 Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'